USC is a wonderful place to be any time of the year. It’s colorful, naturally radiant, and a blessing to have. It is also plopped right in the middle of the wondrous city of Los Angeles. And when you have had a long week of classes on campus, sometimes the best feeling is getting away.  Here’s a short traveler’s guide about my favorite spots.

How to Get around 

It’s always great having a friend who can drive, and someone who can navigate, but getting around LA is surprisingly easy given just a little practice. USC has two metro-line stops located near to it. By Galen Center on the North Side of campus is a Metro-line stop, and on the South side of campus, intersecting with Trousdale is another stop. Additionally there are bus stops at each corner of campus if you’re looking for public transit. If you’re looking for something more catered to you, I enjoy using Uber and Lyft. They provide service similar to a taxi, but with cheaper rates. PROTIP: Uber and Lyft give out free rides left and right. Just make sure to grab your $20 towards your first ride, and take advantage of whatever codes you see during the year.

Where to go

santa monica pic

The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Great food, street performers, shopping, and the nearby beach can make a trip out to Santa Monica last all day!


Santa Monica – For those of you who like options, Santa Monica easily among the best places to visit in LA. As a Chicago native, my first trip there had me utterly stunned and amazed. 3rd Street Promenade holds a nice array of shops and restaurants, ranging from sports apparel to fashion, and Pinkberry to Johnny Rockets! Moreover, Santa Monica beach and Pier are a two minute walk from 3rd Street. The Pier has something for everyone: Picture Spots, carnival games, a Ferris wheel, and food. And for anyone who likes to show your athletic side, the beach is a great place to toss a football, or play some volleyball!

diakokuya ramen

#Artsy picture I took during my first time at Daikokya Ramen.

Little Tokyo – Hopping on the metro to the Metro Center Downtown, transferring to the Purple, East, and finally hopping on the Orange, South, at Union station will take you to LA’s Little Tokyo. Here they have great places to eat, and interesting art to look at. My favorite thing about Little Tokyo is its size; it is little but it is massive enough to keep you occupied and interested for several hours on end. Plus, they have fantastic, inexpensive food! If you do end up going: Daikokuya is a fantastic place to slurp down some of the best ramen in LA, and Mikawaya can satisfy your sweet tooth with delicious Japanese Desserts.

night view from griffith

Sorry for the potato, but this is a shot of DTLA from Griffith’s rooftop.

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You will meet a whole lot of new friends freshman year. Friends who play together, stay together.











Griffith Observatory – Grab some friends and a ride straight North on Vermont Avenue up to Griffith Observatory! Griffith sports several tiered terraces with spectacular views of LA. During a clear day you can see straight out to the ocean! I recommend going at night where you can see the city lit up in all its glory. Inside they have a couple of awesome exhibits on the stars, planets, and light. They close at 10 pm, and I recommend getting there around 9 pm for three reasons: the stars are out when it is dark, they have a really cool Tesla Coil that they like to show off every few minutes, and if you go to the upper level before 9:30 they will let you look through their massive telescopes!

Now that you’ve got a few ideas, make it happen. Grab some friends, pick a spot and get out and explore LA!

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Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on his profile here!